Week 4 – LIFE Group Session

Week 4 – LIFE Group Session


– Welcome back, everyone.
(calm music) In this session, we’re
gonna talk about God’s plan for our mental health. Now, you may not realize it, but there is an invisible
war going on around you and, well actually, it’s in you 24 hours a day. It is the battle for your mind, and the reason this battle is so intense is because whatever gets
your mind, gets you. You know, the bible talks
about this mental battle in the book of Second Corinthians. In chapter 10, starting with verse three, here’s what the bible says. “Though we live in the world, “we do not wage war as the world does. “The weapons we fight with are not “the weapons of the world. “On the contrary, they have divine power “to demolish strongholds. “So thus, we demolish
arguments and every pretension “that sets itself up against
the knowledge of God, “and we take captive every thought “to make it obedient to Christ.” What I wanna do in this session is to focus on the last
phrase of this passage, “We take captive every thought “and make it obedient to Christ.” The Greek phrase here, we take captive, literally means to capture,
like taking a hill in battle. It means to conquer, to
force into submission, and to bring under control. So thus, we take captive every thought and we make it obedient to Christ. Now, how do we do that? (laughs) How do we make our mind mine? Great way to say it, huh? I don’t know about you,
but my mind rebels a lot. My mind seems to have a mind of its own. It often goes off into
all kinds of directions, and yours probably does, too. You know, when I need to pray, my thoughts drift away. So, how can you and I bring
our thoughts under control? Well, there are five
things that God says to do if we’re going to manage our minds, if we’re going to bring
our thoughts under control. So, if you got your notes, write them in, here’s the first one. Don’t believe everything you think. Don’t believe everything you think. You know, you and I
have an amazing ability to lie to ourselves, don’t we? And we do it all the time. We tell ourselves things that are okay when they’re not okay. We justify wrong behaviors and talk ourselves out of
right choices all the time. The bible says in Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things “and beyond cure. “Who can understand it?” What he is saying is,
you cannot be trusted to tell yourself the truth. Folks, we all have blind spots. We don’t always see
things as they really are. Instead, we see things
as we want to see them, as we’ve trained ourselves to see them. I once read a study of the eye. Scientists discovered that when
you’re looking at something, there are more impulses coming from your brain out to your eye than there are from your
eye back to your brain, did you know that? Which means your brain is telling you what you want to see, thus you don’t always
see things as they are, you see things as your
brain wants you to see them. So thus, you see things
the way your filter from all your background, your hurts, your experiences sees things. That’s why we jump to conclusions. There are a lot of ways we don’t tell ourselves
the truth, aren’t there? The bible says in Second Corinthians 13:5, “Examine yourself to see
whether you’re in the faith. “Test yourselves.” That’s Second Corinthians 13:5. So, you’re gonna have
to test your thoughts if you’re really going to
move forward in the future because we’re all still
thinking in old ways and believing old lies, and when we do that,
we’re gonna be in trouble. So, don’t believe everything you think. Now, that leads me to the
second thing the bible teaches, guard your mind against garbage. You know the old saying,
“Garbage in, garbage out.” You see, if you fill
your mind with garbage, that’s what you’re going
to get out in the end. The bible says in Proverbs 15:14, and I love this in the
New Living Translation, “A wise person is hungry for truth, “while the fool feeds on trash.” Now, there are three kinds of mental food, and you need to know these. You see, we can fill our minds with healthy brain food, things that encourage you,
things that build you up, things that make your
smarter, more skilled, and more successful, or you can fill your mind with junk food. I mean, just turn on the radio, or watch a movie or television. Junk food isn’t necessarily poison, it’s important you get this. It just means it’s not beneficial, and a steady diet that can
be of un-beneficial stuff can really be unhealthy. You can get so filled with junk food that you don’t even have time or the appetite to feed
yourself on healthy brain food. Well then, of course,
there’s toxic brain food, like pornography or cultic literature. Filling your mind with this stuff, this ungodly stuff, is toxic to your mind. It will get your system into
poisonous types of thinking. The bible says in Psalm 101:3, “I will not set before my eyes anything “that is worthless.” Do you ever put anything before your eyes that is worthless? Well, sure you do, and so do I. But, if you wanna guard your mind, you have to guard your eyes. You have to protect your
mind against garbage. Now, how can we do that? How can we keep from thinking about things that are harmful for us and to us? Well, there are two ways. One is by conversational prayer. That’s talking to the Lord
constantly during the day. Now, that doesn’t mean that
you’re on your knees before him, hands folded, eyes closed. It just means you talk to God all day long about everything you’re doing, every opportunity, every
challenge, every idea, every experience throughout your day. You just talk to God about it with your eyes wide open. When you do this, it keeps you aware that he is always with you. The other way to block
out worthless thoughts is to focus on things that are good. Now, you can’t get bad things
out of your mind simply by trying not to think about them. Actually, you just wind up
thinking about them more. The only way to get a bad
thought out of your mind is to replace it with something else. The third thing you must do is never let up on learning. Make learning a lifetime habit. Do you know that the word
disciple actually means learner? That’s all it means, learner. And you cannot be a disciple then of Jesus if you don’t keep on learning. Look what the bible
says in Proverbs 18:15. “Intelligent people are
always ready to learn.” Are you always ready to learn? It goes on to say, “Their
ears are open for knowledge.” Proverbs 10:14 says, “Wise
people store up knowledge.” This is the only thing in
scripture we’re told to store, did you know that? The bible says don’t store up wealth, why? Because you’re not taking your wealth with you to heaven. But, it does say store up knowledge because knowledge builds your character and your character is eternal. So, how do I store up knowledge? Again, there are two ways. One is by reading and the other is through relationships. Reading and relationships. Now, this is what I mean when
you wanna get some R and R. You see, reading is individualized input and relationships are communal input. You need both. Your life will be largely
influenced by books you read and the people you meet. If you don’t like to
read, well, that’s okay, just listen then. Today, you can listen to audiobooks, podcasts, and MP3s, and you can listen to CDs of sermons, lectures, and seminars,
all kinds of things. Proverbs 19:8 says, “Those who get wisdom
do themselves a favor “and those who love
learning will succeed.” If you wanna succeed,
then never stop learning. The other way to learn
is through relationships. Learn how to ask great questions, spend time with smart people and learn all you can from them. Get into a life group, it’s one of the reasons
why they’re so important. It’s so you can learn from the experiences of other people. It’s wise to learn from experience. It’s wise to learn from
the experience of others, and by the way, it’s a
whole lot less painful. You see, I don’t have time to
make all the mistakes myself, so I’d like you to go out
and make a few for them, and then tell me what doesn’t work, okay? That’s why we do life groups, we learn from each other. To build your mind, you need to have a regular reading program and you need to be in a small group, a life group, for relationships. Never let up on learning. The fourth thing you need to do to be mentally healthy is
to renew your mind daily with God’s word. God’s word has the power
to renew our minds, did you know that? My mind gets tired and your mind runs out of energy, and it needs to be renewed, it needs to be transformed. So, if you’re going to
change anything in your life, it’s gotta start in your mind. Change doesn’t start in
your behavior, people, it starts in your thoughts. Romans 12:2 says, “Don’t copy the behavior “and customs of this world, “but let God transform
you into a new person “by changing the way you think. “Then, you will learn to
know God’s will for you, “which is good, pleasing, and perfect.” Why do we do this? Why do we renew our minds with the word? Well, the bible says, “You will keep in perfect
peace all who trust in you, “all whose thoughts are fixed on you,” that’s Isaiah 26, verse three. If you want peace of mind, then you need to fix your
mind everyday on God. Start your day with God, either listening to the
word or reading the word before you do anything else. Let God’s word be the
first word in your life. Now, why? Because study after study has shown that the first five to
10 minutes of your day, watch this, determines your mood for the rest of that day. So, you don’t wanna start
with bad news, do you? Start with good news. The bible is good news for your life, so start every day by renewing your mind with God’s word. Now, there’s one more thing to do to be mentally healthy, and this one is the fun
one, you ready for this? Let God stretch your imagination. I love this one. God wants you and I to dream big dreams. The bible says, “Now glory be to God, “who by his mighty power at work within us “is able to do far more than we ever dare “to ask or even dream of, “infinitely beyond our highest prayers, “desires, thoughts, or hopes. “May he be given glory forever.” That’s Ephesians 3, verses 20 and 21. So, let me ask you, what are you asking for or dreaming of? What are your highest prayers and desires, and thoughts and hopes? Are you dreaming big enough dreams? I think the problem with most of us is that our dreams are too small because we’re afraid of
disappointment, aren’t we? We don’t want to set God up for failure. Now, there’s a thought. But, God wants you to dream big dreams, dreams that require faith and total dependence on him. I heard it said, “We need to dream “that only God can bail us out.” You see, nothing happens until
somebody starts dreaming. Everything that has ever been accomplished in the world started because
somebody dreamed it up first, think about it. Every building started as a dream in the architect’s mind. Every piece of art, every
piece of music started as a dream in an artist’s mind. Every athlete who’s won an Olympic gold medal dreamed it first. They saw it with their minds before they saw it with their eyes. Some things have to be believed before they can be seen. It all starts with dreaming. So, you need to let God
stretch your imagination. God cannot help you reach your goals if you don’t have any goals. He cannot fulfill your dreams if you don’t have any dreams. He cannot exceed your expectations if you don’t have any expectations. The bible says, “Where there is no vision, “the people perish.” If you don’t have a vision, if you don’t have a dream, then you’re really not
living, you’re just existing. God wants to stretch our imagination, he wants you to dream big dreams so that you can accomplish
great things for his glory. Let me close with this. I put together a little acrostic to help you remember these five steps to becoming a healthier person, specifically having a healthier mind. It’s based on the word think. T. T means test every thought. Don’t believe everything you think. Test it against scripture
to be sure it’s true. H stands for helmet your head. Now, what does a helmet do? It protects your mind, thus
put on the helmet of salvation to guard your mind against garbage. I means imagine great thoughts. Don’t be afraid to dream big dreams. Let God stretch your imagination. N stands for nourish a godly mind. Now, how do you do that? By renewing your mind
daily with God’s word. Have a daily time with God. And K means keep on learning. Never stop reading and
asking great questions. The bible says, “Be
diligent in these matters. “Give yourself wholly to them “so that everyone may see your progress.” That’s 1 Timothy 4, verse 15. And as you faithfully follow these steps, now listen, they will lead you to a much healthier state of mind. Let’s pray. Heavenly father, thank you, that it is your plan and desire for us to have healthy minds. Forgive us for all the times that we believed thoughts and ideas that really weren’t true. Forgive us for the times
we’ve allowed garbage into our minds. Help us to be diligent
to protect our minds from worthless things. Help us to never stop learning. Help each of us to spend
time with you everyday to renew our minds with your word. And in that quiet time
alone with you, Lord, stretch our imagination. Give us your dreams, give us your vision, give us your goals, and your plan and purpose for our lives so that we might live for your glory. In Jesus name, amen. I’ll look forward to seeing you next time.

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